Network. Network. Network. That one word rang in my ears throughout college and my first few years post-graduation. Everyone was telling me that I needed to go talk with people, get their business cards, connect with them on social media and engage in informational interviews because someday this might help land me a job. I was a skeptic. I didn’t see the benefit of an informational interview if it wasn’t an actual job interview. That was until I needed a job. I spent weeks and months blindly applying to jobs with no avail before I decided to tap into the pool of networks that I had hesitantly built. I reached out to a former instructor from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism (GO GOPHERS!) for an informational interview. From this interview, I landed a job at Inprela Communications. Success!
Now, I tell this story because the informational interview is to landing a job like a journalist meet and greet is to landing press coverage. For some clients, like it was for me, it can be hard to see the benefits of taking time to meet with a journalist when there isn’t a specific article opportunity in the works. During these informal meetings, the focus is less on the product or service. Instead, clients can expect to talk about current trends in the industry and position themselves as thought leaders, in addition to learning about the editors interests. As I have seen for our clients, these meet and greets can yield great results. But understand that coverage might not be immediate. In fact, sometimes these meet and greets take place and nothing spurs for six months.
At the Association of perioperative Nurses (AORN) Conference in March we secured a number of meet and greets for our healthcare client, Vestagen. Although we were introducing a new product at this show, many of the meetings we secured with publications did not dive into the new product and most of these publications did not have upcoming editorial opportunities relevant to Vestagen’s business. Yet, despite this, we were able to place a contributed article in a top healthcare publication, ADVANCE for Nurses, titled “Healthcare Worker Attire – Protection from the Unexpected” and another in Surgical Products “The Transformation of Healthcare Attire and its Role in Protecting Providers and Patients” as a result of the meetings. Success!
If Vestagen’s experience hasn’t convinced you of the value of a meet and greet yet, let’s look at three other reasons these get-to-know-you meetings are worth your time.
- Building rapport helps them remember: Just like job-searching, B2B PR is about relationships. A meet and greet helps editors put a face to a name. When they are working on an article and need a source, they are more likely to reach out to someone they have created a relationship with in the past rather than a blind contact. Additionally, when your company has news to share, oftentimes editors are more likely to read and consider an announcement from a company who has invested time talking with them.
- Conversation creates ideas: When Vestagen and the editors walked into the meetings at AORN, there were no story ideas on the table. From these conversations spurred ideas. Vestagen was able to note the topics that piqued the editors’ interest and develop a story idea to pitch them based on the conversation.
- Talking helps tailor content: Similar to above, by investing time to learn about what the reporter cares about, we are better able to provide them an article that fits their needs. Understanding topics that excite them or angles that might be too niche for them make our chances of securing coverage more successful.
As you can see, the value of a meet and greet extends beyond the initial conversation. Make time for these meetings with journalists to help build rapport, generate story ideas and tailor your content for the publications and audiences you want to reach. And then, wait for that moment of success!